Extinction Rebellion in Amsterdam | exclusive interview

Written by on 20/09/2019

The climate change crisis is prompting more and more urgent activism in Amsterdam along with other cities and regions across the world.

Roger Hallam, the co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, the global civil disobedience movement protesting the climate crisis, was in Amsterdam recently and Broadcast Amsterdam asked him some difficult questions. Listen to the interview below:

For more information on Extinction Rebellion in the Netherlands (in Dutch and English), see:
extinctionrebellion.nl

We’re also playing this interview as a series of audio clips on Broadcast Amsterdam radio station throughout September-October 2019 when planned activism by Extinction Rebellion in the Netherlands will take place.

Questions:

  • In Amsterdam in March 2019 we already got 40,000 people marching to draw attention to the climate crisis. How is the Extinction Rebellion movement different from that kind of action? Roger: “… nothing gets done until you break the law …”
  • The Extinction Rebellion model has five or so key elements, one of which is to focus action on your nation’s capital city where the economic and political power is concentrated. However, in the Netherlands Amsterdam is the capital city but our government sits in Den Haag. And wouldn’t disrupting Dutch ports or agriculture industry make more sense rather than stopping tourists getting to the Van Gogh Museum? As a de-centralised autonomous organisation, if for example action in the Netherlands needed a different approach, would you be OK with that?
  • In Amsterdam, we’re pretty socially liberal, we’ve just elected a green-led local government, when October comes and there’s disruption to local residents and workers who may feel they are already making a difference, what would you say to them?
  • So in your opinion the Dutch government’s latest target of reducing carbon emissions by half by 2030 is not enough?
  • The Extinction Rebellion movement was formed following what you call “30 years of failed campaigning”, so now after one year of operation and the two big protests (October 2018 and April 2019), what has Extinction Rebellion itself achieved, other than mobilising lots of people? Has there been any direct results on governments or what you call elites?
  • In the Netherlands we live under sea level, we’re pretty much aware of the threat to our existence, aren’t we preaching to the converted by any activism here? Shouldn’t we be focused on big polluting countries like China?
  • You compare Extinction Rebellion activism to a labour strike, but the civil disobedience planned for October 2019 are only set to last a week – what is that’s not long enough? Will ER be bolder in the future if those events don’t achieve very much?
  • So come October 2019, what can Amsterdammers expect from the local Extinction Rebellion in this city? What should they do to prepare?

 

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